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Parliament ratifies agreement on IAEA Low Enriched Uranium Bank

by December 9, 2016 General

The Senate adopts at the Plenary Session the Law On Ratification of Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the International Atomic Energy Agency on establishing the IAEA Low-Enriched Uranium Bank in the Republic of Kazakhstan.

International Low Enriched Uranium Bank will be established under the IAEA auspices to ensure guaranteed supply of nuclear fuel to the nuclear power plants of IAEA member states; it is a repository of low enriched uranium, which is a starting material for the production of fuel for nuclear power plants. The IAEA decided to establish the low enriched uranium bank in 2006, Minister of Energy Kanat Bozumbayev introduces the draft law.

The IAEA has listed requirements for operator country: the country should have a non-nuclear status, technology and experience in this part of nuclear cycle, appropriate infrastructure, IAEA trust, and system-launch control. Kazakhstan possesses all these qualities, first of all, due to experience gained. Kazakhstan is the largest uranium producer and, having a capacity of processing highly enriched uranium into the low enriched form, intends to contribute to the development of peaceful nuclear energy.

Kazakhstan has carried out certain works by the initiative of the Head of State, and on July 29, 2011, the Republic of Kazakhstan submitted to the IAEA an official application on the intention to locate the International Low Enriched Uranium Bank on its territory.

The application provided for two sites: Ulba Metallurgical Plant in Ust-Kamenogorsk and No.5 site on the territory of former Semipalatinsk test site. On August 29 � September 2, 2011, the IAEA Technical Commission reviewed the sites; preference was given to Ulba Metalurgical Plant. The 67-year old enterprise has been for 45 years working with such materials.

The low enriched uranium will be stored in hexafluoride form in the 30B European standard cylinder containers. On April 27, 2015, the Government approved the signing of an Agreement with the IAEA on establishing the low enriched uranium bank. On August 27, 2015, the Agreement was signed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs Erlan Idrissov on the Kazakh side and Director General Yukiya Amano on the IAEA side.

The IAEA will be the owner of the uranium stored at the Bank, and the fuel will be under its control in its official legal possession. The Bank is not a source of permanent supply or a shop. The uranium reserve, in fact, is a reserve stock that will be demanded only in case of world uranium markets crisis situation. Theoretically, thestockmaybeneverrequired.

The works on placing the IAEA nuclear material are currently under preparation. There have been produced over 20 IAEA technical missions with participation of international experts specializing in various aspects of nuclear safety. The missions resulted in extensive detailed recommendations on improving the legislation, regulatory framework, public infrastructure, management and security in the use of nuclear energy.

The recommendations aim at meeting the IAEA safety provision, which, in fact, guarantee the highest level of project safety both for the environment and population.

During elaboration of a draft law On the Use of Atomic Energy, which was adopted in this-year January, the world-class lawyers gave significant recommendations included in this draft law.

Also a range of draft bylaws was analyzed by the IAEA experts, and their recommendations were applied in these documents preparation.

The IAEA decision on placing the Bank on this site indicates recognized highest level of safety of the plant, which meets the strictest international criteria on the workers classification and experience, the quality of work and the enterprise.

Source: Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan